Johnson & Johnson Commit to Non-Enforcement of Secondary Patents in low- and middle-income countries

October 3, 2023

TBfighters around the world are thrilled at the news that Johnson & Johnson will not enforce secondary patents for SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) in 134 low- and middle-income countries. This builds upon their agreement with the Stop TB Partnership/Global Drug Facility (GDF), which allowed for generic bedaquiline in 44 countries. Johnson & Johnson’s announcement means people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) will be able to access a more affordable bedaquiline-containing treatment regimen regardless of their country’s eligibility or willingness to procure drugs through the GDF.

Ending secondary patent enforcement will expand access to generic bedaquiline for countries such as South Africa, Ukraine, and Belarus, all of whom have a high-burden of TB but were excluded from the agreement with the GDF, meaning that until now they faced the continuation of high prices for bedaquiline. This represents a deep commitment to global health from J&J. This change of approach will save many lives, and allow more to avoid life-changing treatment complications, and we are truly thankful.

We are very glad to have played a part in this change, building upon and amplifying years of work from TB advocates and organizations, such as MSF (Doctors Without Borders), Partners in Health, the Stop TB Partnership, the Treatment Action Group, the South African Competition Commission, who launched an investigation into J&J’s bedaquiline pricing, and all those involved in the recent UN High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis, including UNITAID. We look forward to working in partnership for further progress. Together, we can end TB.